Washington: Researchers recently discovered an ancient wine cellar at a Middle Bronze Age Canaanite palace in Israel.
During a 2013 excavation, the researchers from Brandeis University, in this study, found 40 large storage vessels in an enclosed room located to the west of the central courtyard.
An organic residue analysis using mass spectrometry revealed that all of the relatively uniform jars contained chemical compounds indicative of wine and the authors also detected subtle differences in the ingredients or additives within similarly shaped wine jars, including honey, storax resin, terebinth resin, cedar oil, cyperus, juniper, and possibly mint, myrtle, and cinnamon.
The researchers suggested that the detection of these additives indicated that humans at the time had a sophisticated understanding of plants and skills necessary to produce a complex beverage that balanced preservation, palatability, and psychoactivity.
Andrew Koh, Lead author, said that this study would change their understanding of ancient viticulture and palatial social practices and also, the manner in which they approached the organic residue analysis (ORA) as an integrated, qualitative, and interdisciplinary exercise.
This study is published in the open-access journal PLOS ONE.